Vauxhall got dragged through the mud by no less a figure than the President of the United States recently.
The US Embassy’s much touted move to the “off location” was supposedly the reason behind Donald Trump’s cancelled visit to the UK, even though the new building has its own moat.
Clearly, tech behemoth Apple didn’t take much notice as it’s moving its entire UK operation there. This month, Penguin Random House announced a new London office there and the Royal College of Art has also submitted a planning application for a £50m building. They join early adopters Damien Hirst and Mark Hix, who opened the £25m Newport Street Gallery and restaurant Pharmacy 2, in Vauxhall two years ago.
“The area around Vauxhall has completely transformed... Formerly redundant land is now home to London’s most luxurious homes,” says Daniel Turner, associate director at JLL.
In truth, regeneration plans have been afoot for decades. The Northern Line extension will bring much-needed new infrastructure, and two new Tube stations are set to open in 2020. “Opening less than a year after Crossrail, the Northern Line extension has gone under the radar,” says David Fell, research analyst at estate agent Hamptons International.
“The arrival of two new Northern Line stations in SW8 will plug in both the power station and the maze of Victorian streets that lie east of Vauxhall to the West End and the City.” Originally earmarked as Zone Two, these stations have been brought into Zone One by TfL.
Nine Elms, as a large riverside portion of it has been dubbed, is now awash with with luxury residential skyscrapers. There’s even a sky-high swimming pool connecting two of them at Embassy Gardens, where Sky Pool apartments start at £1m.
“The area around Vauxhall has completely transformed... Formerly redundant land is now home to London’s most luxurious homes,” says Daniel Turner, associate director at JLL. So who is snapping up these shiny penthouses? Affluent young professionals who may not be able to afford any other Zone One location, but like the short commute and proximity to south London nightlife.
“Vauxhall has experienced a popularity explosion in the last few years,” says James Hughes, manager at CBRE Vauxhall. “We have seen a big increase in interest, particularly from young professionals, corporate tenants and students.”
Then there are the international and domestic buy-to-let investors seeing potential in new infrastructure and corporate lets. This has undoubtedly pushed prices up, with Zoopla currently quoting £765,000 as the average price of a property.
Estate agency JLL predicts two per cent house price growth in the neighbourhood over the next five years, but not everyone is so optimistic. Hamptons International data, using Land Registry figures, shows that prices have fallen 2.8 per cent year-on-year and the last record-breaking sale, £15m for an apartment at St George Wharf, was made in 2015. Plus, it’s still noticeably cheaper than Westminster and Pimlico, its neighbours over the river.
Fear not, there are still some options for regular Joes looking to get into Zone One. “The smaller ex-council flats start at around £350,000 and a Victorian conversion flat starts at £450,000, making it very appealing to first time buyers,” says Justin Bhoday, KFH Kennington’s sales manager.
When Damien Hirst opened the Newport Street Gallery in 2015, it was a watershed moment for Vauxhall. Stretching the length of the street, it’s a public art gallery displaying the personal collection of the double Turner Prize winning artist. Hirst has also contributed pill-inspired decor to Pharmacy 2, a restaurant created on the same site with chef, and City A.M. columnist Mark Hix. Foodies and art lovers many travel from all over London for those delights, but thrill seekers will come to Vauxhall for Whistle Punks. Swap bowling for urban axe-throwing, an aggressively fun past time that’s gaining in popularity. Or organise a right royal night out at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, a Grade II listed Victorian music hall that’s a staple of London’s LGBT scene, hosting weekly club nights and drag shows. Another local favourite is Hot Stuff, a treasured curry house that’s BYOB with no corkage fee on Wilcox Road. Family fun can be had at Vauxhall City Farm, a charity that’s also a centre for Riding for the Disabled.
House prices Source: Zoopla
Transport Source: TfL
Time to Canary Wharf: 26 mins
Time to Bank: 16 mins
Nearest train station: Vauxhall
Best roads Source: Hamptons International
Most Expensive: Sopwith Way: £1,386, 625
Best Value: Union Grove: £354,269